Why should I learn about pressure points?
points (p.p’s) are very useful tools to use when incorporated in
self-defence techniques. They are especially useful for control
techniques & they can produce startling results ranging from pain
(used to gain compliance), releasing of joints (escaping from grabs &
holds) through to full knockouts & in some cases death.
How are pressure points relevant to my
within the Taekwon-Do patterns are a myriad of techniques that have
been disguised & hidden within the patterns. These patterns have been
handed down from Master to student from generation to generation. The
patterns were originally formulated to contain various self-defence
striking of anatomically vulnerable areas, the use of joint locks,
throws, dislocation techniques, groundwork, countering, grappling &
principle was contrived to neutralize an opponents ability to attack
through impeding motor performance, obstructing the air or blood flow
& rendering the attacker unconscious or even causing death by
attacking the adversary’s vital points.
every movement (or combination of movements) in a pattern has a true
meaning behind it –it is just a case of discovering the application
that was intended by its original creator.
Why were these “secret techniques” kept
There are a
number of theories why this knowledge was lost. First & foremost, the
ancient Masters never kept written records; all their knowledge was
passed down verbally only to their most trusted students, so in
reality, very few people were aware of the purpose of the movements
contained within the Tul. As the arts became popularised
(Karate was introduced to school children in the early part of the 20th
century for health reasons) the applications for the techniques were
given a “safer” alternative for their use. Finally, after WW2 when the
Eastern arts were exported to the West, via military personnel, they
brought back the “watered down” versions with them, as the Eastern
Masters were averse to pass on their treasured secrets.
Aren’t pressure points dangerous?
course they are. Having knowledge of the use & applications of p.p’s
carries a great responsibility. This is why you are only taught the
most basic ones when you first start training & as your training
progresses & you have proved yourself responsible, then you will start
to learn more advanced techniques.
training we only apply about 5 to 10% of
the actual power that the p.p’s would be manipulated with if it were
to be necessary to use them in an actual situation. This way we
develop a feel for them & how to apply them without causing
How can I develop my knowledge of p.p’s/pattern
Bunkai is the term used to
describe the analysis, or deciphering, of the pattern movements. Each
movement (or series of movements) has a reason behind it; some are
obvious, some not. It requires a bit of lateral thinking & an open
mind to discover the treasures contained within the Tul. To
reach a conclusion sometimes calls for a bit of “reverse engineering”;
you may discover the end result & will need to work backwards to come
to the conclusion of how you get there.
of martial art training can be seen as the intellectual facet of the
art, the higher level of practice.
How do the pressure points work?
knows for sure how the p.p’s work. In traditional Chinese medicine the
body is believed to hold a source of energy called
Chi (Ki in Korean) that
circulates around the body & its vital organs. By disrupting the route
that the chi energy takes then we can cause harm to the organs that
the chi is flowing to.
over 360 p.p’s, with 108 points that are useful to the martial artist.
These run in 12 meridians plus 2
(main) extra-ordinary meridians.
These p.p’s can all be found on any acupuncturist’s charts. The 12
meridians run bilaterally down the body (i.e: they exist on both sides
of the body) & each is associated with a specific organ or body
meridians are grouped into pairs consisting of a
yin meridian & a yang
meridian & these can be viewed as “circuits” of a “flow” & “return”
pair. They are paired according to what
element they are associated with (e.g: wood element pair is
the gallbladder & liver meridians).
How do I strike/manipulate the pressure
the effects of striking a p.p. we can strike a further point, which
has the end result of an even greater impact than just striking one
divide the body into 4 quarters (ie: down the centre line & by the
waist) we can use a theory called “the quadrant
theory”. We can further divide this from front to back. To make
2 or more strikes have a greater effect then we can strike either
across the body or across 2 opposing quadrants (eg: top front left to
bottom back right –for maximum effect). This principle can be applied
with just the head divided up into these quadrants.
of striking these points is by using the
cycle of destruction. An example of this is “metal cuts
wood –wood penetrates earth” etc. To put this into practice this means
that you would strike a metal point (eg: a lung point) followed by a
wood point (eg: a liver point) then the series of strikes could be
finished off by hitting an earth point (eg: a stomach point). This
would have a far superior result as opposed to striking 2 points on
the same meridian. When squeezing points on the wrist this has the
effect of “short-circuiting” the meridians & makes the body weaker,
therefore more vulnerable to a further strike or manipulating a p.p.
to apply a lock etc.
Furthermore, most points can be struck at different angles to increase
the effect. Some are square on, others 30°
or 45°, also different points respond better
to striking, some need to be rubbed & others need to pressed, some
need to be struck with towards the body & some away from the body
(this information can be found on an acupressure chart).
So you can see that you have many options open to
you. All of the above principles can be combined to create devastating
effects to an attacker.
It sounds very complex & it is a deep subject, but
there are many secrets to be found if the time is taken to look for
open-minded; some “blocking” techniques are not actually blocks, they
are disguised striking techniques.
pattern movements are pressure point strikes; some are locks, throws,
chokes, counters & strikes to vulnerable areas (joints, eyes, throat,
tip; points located at hard areas of the body (eg: the head) are best
struck with soft parts of the body (eg: a palm) & soft targets are
best struck with hard striking surfaces (such as the underbelly of the
forearm struck with the bony part of the wrist).
this very short & concise introduction to pressure points will point
you in the right direction to deciphering some of the common, through
to the more obscure movements in your patterns & this will give a
deeper understanding of why they are regarded with so much importance.